In the decade I’ve spent acting and modeling, I’ve had the good fortune of making some great friends in the fashion and entertainment industry, including some very talented designers. Erin Healy, Lisa Kaminski, Lauren Rossi, Argie Mitra, and Jennifer Chabri are some of the rising stars you may have heard of from time to time in the North Florida area. Lauren has now taken her talents to NYC, while the other designers continue to spread their influence through out the nation as well. I’m the lucky girl who gleaned their fashionable wisdom over the last few seasons, and as a result managed to transform my closet. Here is everything I learned about shopping from my designer friends….
1. Quality Vs Quantity
When it comes down to it, we all love variety. But seriously, do you need fifteen $5 clearance shirts from Forever 21? Don’t get me wrong, I love a great sale, but let’s focus that deal finding energy to stronger pieces that will stay in your wardrobe longer.
Fill your wardrobe with 80% classic pieces that you can style multiple ways and wear for multiple occasions. For instance the “Little Black Dress,” the “classic white dress shirt,” the best fitting jeans you can dress up or dress down, the iconic boot that wont go out of style. Trend pieces can be less expensive than staples, so freshen your wardrobe from time to time with a new seasonal piece, but acknowledge that it probably wont be there long, and consider the brevity of its stay when deciding how much to spend.
2. Natural Fibers Vs Synthetic
My friend Lauren used to tell me all the time, “natural fibers look so much better on you.” Sadly, I really didn’t know what she was talking about. In plain English natural fabrics are silks, cottons, and anything made from the earth or of a natural substance and woven into a fabric. Synthetic fabrics are polyesters, rayon, spandex, nylon. Natural fibers warm to your body heat and are 100% more flattering. They are usually also more of an investment, and need a little more TLC with the care and cleaning. Synthetics are usually much more affordable but also don’t breath as well. A great plan is to purchase your classic pieces in natural fibers and your trend pieces in synthetics.
3. The Devil is in the Details
While preparing for this story both Lisa Kaminski and Erin Healy encouraged me to share that you should pay attention to the quality of construction. Start by turning it inside out and looking at the stitching, and for lining and facing (a double layer of fabric at the bust). A garment is more valuable to you when it’s been finished well. It will last longer and depending on the final touches, bring that much more of your style to the forefront. An example could be buttons, embroidery, edging, piping, and zippers.
4. Shop for your Size
I was pleasantly pleased to find one day shopping with Lauren at Anthropologie that I was a size smaller than I thought. If I had purchased the size I thought I was I would rarely wear the dress because I would constantly be adjusting it. If you don’t know your size, bring a friend for a second opinion or ask the dressing room attendant to help you out. Remember that vanity sizing is real. Sizes are changing all the time. Retailers know we want to feel smaller than we are. Get over the numbers and just fit for your size. You wont regret it. This goes for shoes as well!
5. Transitional Items will Save you Money
Purchase items that will take you from summer to fall, or fall to spring. Layer, add a jacket, or leggings. If you get creative you wont have such a line of demarcation between your “summer” and “winter wardrobe, and you’ll be comfortable year round.
To find out the last five tips on shopping like a designer, check out Part 2 on my blog the “A-list”. Share your favorite shopping tips in the comment section. We want to hear!